November 19, 2017

Ed Garcia | Movers & Shakers 2010 – Advocates

Library Journal March 15, 2010: Ed Garcia, Mover & Shaker

Called To Serve

When you consider Ed Garcia’s sensitivity to the least among us, it’s no surprise that one of his regular patrons is an unemployed gravedigger. An information access librarian at the Cranston Public Library (CPL), Garcia regularly spends 30 minutes helping the man fill out online applications for jobs at places like McDonald’s.

“We’ve had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country,” points out Garcia. “Since November [2008], about a third of my day has been helping unemployed patrons search for a job.”

It’s the opportunity to help people like the gravedigger that has brought Garcia, a librarian for only two years, such early professional fulfillment. Garcia came to library work after more than a decade as a marketing rep for Sony Music and nonprofit health organizations. “During my nonprofit tenure I learned a lot about fundraising and grant-writing but did not feel fulfilled in my desire to help the community,” he says.

While still in graduate school, in 2008, he became the first student appointed to the state library board, where he represented library issues key to the economically disadvantaged. Now he chairs the board’s public relations committee.

He’s also attuned to the needs of recent immigrants to Cranston, the third largest city in Rhode Island. Garcia recently partnered with the Confucius Institute at the University of Rhode Island to develop a Chinese collection at CPL. Funded by a grant from a semigovernmental Chinese cultural agency, the collection includes more than 1000 historical, cultural, and artistic works in various media formats, in both English and Mandarin.

It’s projects like these that reflect Garcia’s “initiative and imagination,” says CPL colleague Beth Johnson. The American Library Association must think so, too, because Garcia has been selected for its Emerging Leaders program for 2010.

“It has been a ten-year odyssey for me to find a career that I love and am fulfilled in,” says Garcia. “All of my skills and learning in marketing, fundraising, and grant-writing have also been useful, so I feel that my previous career and work experience were preparing me for my true calling.”

Vitals

Ed Garcia, Cranston Public Library, RI

CURRENT POSITION Information Access Librarian

DEGREE MLIS, University of Rhode Island, 2008

MEMBER Library Board of Rhode Island

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